Decided to try a waterless mead

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MightyMosin

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Pressed 39Lb Strawberries, 1Lb tart & sweet cherries, 5 Lb Raspberries and 3 Lb mixed Cherry & Berry...
I ended up with2.75 Lb of juice and a lot of pressed solids.

About 2 gallons worth of solids went into a mesh bag and the rest are heading for the compost.

I haven't actually worked up the rest of the recipe so the 7 gallon fermenter went into the garage fridge to keep the beasties at bay while I figure the rest out. It will Lalvin 71B for the yeast.

The fruit juice comes in at 1.040 SG. The carboy is sitting ~5 gallons displaced or a bit less. I'll really check it soon. Thinking if I take 1/2 gallon of apple cider and blend about 12 Lb of honey into it and then blend into the pressed juice I will end up with a SG around 1.142. That would be 18.25% ABV but 71B can't take it there. If it takes it to 16%, I would still have at least .018 points of gravity... so sweet enough for me, but I think I'll have a bit left more than that.
 
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Be sure to use lots of pectic enzymes!

I’m not sure I would mix apple juice into all that berry goodness.

You said you were at 2.75 gallons of pure juice? I might add another 6 lb of honey so it would all rack nicely into a 3 gallon carboy for secondary.

71b is a solid choice! The next questions is.. to oak or not to oak? With thing like raspberry and strawberry, I would say “no oak” but cherry really benefits from some good oaking.
 
Thanks for the comments. The pectic enzyme for all the fruit has been added already; I should have mentioned that. I do love a clear mead and I don't want that haze hanging around.

While I am at 2.75 gallons pure juice, I hope to pick up another .25 gallon from the fruit solids once more is extracted from the solids. Blending in 12 pounds of honey will add ~ another gallon, and should put me above what I expect 71B to max out on and leave enough residual sugars. Whatever amount I have over 3 pounds can get racked to a 1 gallon carboy. For oak, I will likely pass with this mead. I do love oak though and if I had enough for a small barrel (~6 gal) I would throw it in there.

I may pick up another 3 gallon stainless keg for the majority of this and forget about it for a year or so with the left over in a glass carboy.

I'm certainly open to suggestions on this as it is my first time doing a waterless. I know now, that I would have started defrosting the fruits a couple of days earlier and I'm glad I started the crushing/pressing the fruits early in the day as they were still semi frozen and I ended up needing to press twice to get the most out of the fruits. That literally doubled my fruit juice extraction.

I'll likely use a few items up front like Opti-red, some FT Rouge tannins, and maybe some Noblesse if my brew shop has any in stock.

I'll be targeting 150ppm YAN for this and assuming that the fruits will be providing all the rest of the needed nutrients. Going with ~ 4 gallons of must, I will go with:
15 g Lalvin 71-B
12.5 g Go-Ferm in 250ml water (this seems low-ish but trying to limit YAN overload)
7.57 g Ferm-K (1.9g each of 4 feedings)
7.21h g DAP (1.8g each of 4 feedings)
I'm thinking about picking up a stir plate and building the yeast up over a few days with some of the must as the feed. I'm expecting needing a large, healthy colony to get this going.

I normally just user Ferm-O, but I figure there's plenty of organic YAN and DAP is like crack to the yeast which will be useful in a high SG must.

Comments on nutrient schedule are appreciated.
 
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Thanks for the comments. The pectic enzyme for all the fruit has been added already; I should have mentioned that. I do love a clear mead and I don't want that haze hanging around.

While I am at 2.75 gallons pure juice, I hope to pick up another .25 gallon from the fruit solids once more is extracted from the solids. Blending in 12 pounds of honey will add ~ another gallon, and should put me above what I expect 71B to max out on and leave enough residual sugars. Whatever amount I have over 3 pounds can get racked to a 1 gallon carboy. For oak, I will likely pass with this mead. I do love oak though and if I had enough for a small barrel (~6 gal) I would throw it in there.

I may pick up another 3 gallon stainless keg for the majority of this and forget about it for a year or so with the left over in a glass carboy.

I'm certainly open to suggestions on this as it is my first time doing a waterless. I know now, that I would have started defrosting the fruits a couple of days earlier and I'm glad I started the crushing/pressing the fruits early in the day as they were still semi frozen and I ended up needing to press twice to get the most out of the fruits. That literally doubled my fruit juice extraction.

I'll likely use a few items up front like Opti-red, some FT Rouge tannins, and maybe some Noblesse if my brew shop has any in stock.

I'll be targeting 150ppm YAN for this and assuming that the fruits will be providing all the rest of the needed nutrients. Going with ~ 4 gallons of must, I will go with:
16 g Lalvin 71-B
12.5 g Go-Ferm in 250ml water (this seems low-ish but trying to limit YAN overload)
7.57 g Ferm-K (1.9g each of 4 feedings)
7.21h g DAP (1.8g each of 4 feedings)
I'm thinking about picking up a stir plate and building the yeast up over a few days with some of the must as the feed. I'm expecting needing a large, healthy colony to get this going.

I normally just user Ferm-O, but I figure there s plenty of organic YAN and DAP is like crack to the yeast which will be useful in a high SG must.

Comments on nutrient schedule are appreciated.
This sounds super interesting, i’d love to know how it comes out. Also I definitely highly recommend the stir plate for your healthy big yeast colony/starter. Happy meading 🍯🍷
 
So I've been playing with mead calculators and this is my thought process so far.
I want to have some sweetness without having to back sweeten the mead when completed.
I'll use 71B with its stated 14% tolerance that I fully expect to take to 16%.

16% means I need to start with a OG of 1.124. I want a FG of ~ 1.020 which bumps my OG to 1.144 to reserve those 20 points I want left over.

I have 2.75 gallons of the juice at 1.040 SG. If I pull 1 gallon from that and blend 6 pounds of honey into it I will change that volume from 1 gallon to ~1.5 gallons with a SG of 1.265. Each Lb of honey in 1 gallon adds .0375 points of gravity; that 6 pounds of honey should add .225 gravity points to the 1 gallon of 1.040 Juice. 1.040 + 0.225 = 1.265 SG in that 1.5 gallons.

Looking at the blending calculator 1.75 gallons @ 1.040 blended with 1.5 gallons @ 1.265 gives me 3.25 gallons @1.144, which is what I want to start with.

I figure with sediment and racking loss I should end up with a full 3 gallons... so much effort for the 3 gallons. I do hope it will come out great.

Now to take these amounts and dial in the nutrient protocol I will use...

Using the meadmakr.com advanced SNA calculator I am targeting 175 ppm YAN with the assumption that the fruit juice and solids will provide enough YAN as I can't measure it. Using that calculator for the 3.25 gallon batch gets me 5.54g Fermaid-O, 6.15g Fermaid-K and 3.1g DAP.

I'll stagger to four doses like this:
Add#1 - 2.77g Fermaid-O
Add#2 - 2.77g Fermaid-O
Add#3 - 3.075g Fermaid-K, 1.55g DAP
Add#4 - 3.075g Fermaid-K, 1.55g DAP

Yeast hydration will be 15g Lalvin 71B, using 18.8g Go-Ferm diluted in 376ml water;
Actually I'll try and get some Go-Ferm Sterol Flash as that cuts the water requirements in half so I won't dilute my target gravity as much and it doesn't have to be hot water to blend.
 
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I'll stagger to four doses like this:
Add#1 - 2.77g Fermaid-O
Add#2 - 2.77g Fermaid-O
Add#3 - 3.075g Fermaid-K, 1.55g DAP
Add#4 - 3.075g Fermaid-K, 1.55g DAP
It sounds like a solid plan moving forward.
Don't forget that Fermaid K already has DAP in it. (Not sure if you calculated for that).
Where you're not fermenting on the fruit itself, you shouldn't pick up any of that plasticky/band-aid taste from the strawberries.
If it were my batch, I would probably back off of the honey from the OG reading & add another round of fruit after stabilizing, gaining a little bit of natural backsweetening while gainingflavor & extra color @ the same time. Fermented fruit has a different flavor/properties than raw fruit. If you're really looking for the strawberries to shine, (which I'm guessing you do, since they're the bulk of your fruit) letting the alcohol extract the flavor & color in secondary will really push the strawberries forward. Yes, it will take your 16% back down to 14%....maybe 14 1/2%, depending on how much you add to secondary, but the flavor & extra color you get is always worth it, (@ least to me).
Can't wait for your updates with this.
Happy meading 😎
 
@Dan O I do like strawberries and almost always use them in secondary only, as primary tends to kill them at the typical amounts that I would normally use. I'm going on something I have heard about large amounts of strawberry in primary having staying power and not fading away too much. In either case, I have reserved about 8 Lb of strawberries for secondary to add back to the mix as needed.

My large qty of strawberry is mostly due to a great strawberry field that I have nearby, and I get flats of seconds for $20... too good of a deal to pass up and I ended up having a lot of them on tap faster than I have been using them. The spouse wanted more space in the chest freezer, so I jumped at doing this.

I am not familiar with the plastic taste you are describing. What else should I know? I did some quick searches and most opinions seem to think chlorine or wild yeast and most seem to happen with beers, though that isn't exclusive. I hope I don't end up with any of that flavor.

There are some strawberry solids that have been pressed in my nylon bag of fruit solids though they are mostly other berry solids . I would guess any funky taste would likely be bacterial. I'm hoping that the cleaning and vinegar-water baths of the fruits I did prior to freezing the strawberries was enough to take care of that aspect. Since I haven't started it yet, the juice is being refrigerated and sitting with K-Meta to help stave off little beasties and to help with oxygenation prevention.

And since I won't start the yeast stuff until Thur or Friday, I just might find some time to press in a bit more berries.
 
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I get flats of seconds for $20
Sweet deal!

I am not familiar with the plastic taste you are describing. What else should I know?
I'm pretty sure that has something to do with fermenting the seeds. I dumped a whole batch ( Eight gallons, right down the crapper😖😫), that had a lot of strawberries in it.....time got away from me & they were left in primary about a week & 1/2 longer than I normally would have left them in & the flavor was like a plastic band-aid, nasty! I say this because any time I've added strawberries to secondary, I've never gotten that weird flavor. Lesson learned, albeit that was an expensive one. Keep a close eye on your flavor in secondary. Those seeds are small but mightier than you may think in regards to tannic value. Once the fruit is looking colorless, it gets pulled, regardless of how short a time it's been in there.

I hope this helps you.
Happy meading 😎
 
Those seeds are small but mightier than you may think in regards to tannic value. Once the fruit is looking colorless, it gets pulled, regardless of how short a time it's been in there.
I really appreciate the warning and I'll modify what I'm doing some. I'll pull the bag of solids and squeeze all the juice out of it and send those solids to the compost heap.

I'll press some more berries and only keep the solids from the black and raspberries for tannic value and that should very much minimize that kind off off flavor from strawberry solids in the fermenter. I'm sure there are some seeds at the bottom of the juice but probably not enough to be an issue. I'll recheck my SG and adjust recipe as needed.

Maybe I'll rack the juice through a tight knitted hops bag to catch any remaining seeds at the bottom before I pitch the yeast. Hopefully the refrigeration and K-Meta in there is keeping wild yeast at bay as well as preventing oxygenation of the juice until I can start this.
 
I really appreciate the warning and I'll modify what I'm doing some. I'll pull the bag of solids and squeeze all the juice out of it and send those solids to the compost heap.

I'll press some more berries and only keep the solids from the black and raspberries for tannic value and that should very much minimize that kind off off flavor from strawberry solids in the fermenter. I'm sure there are some seeds at the bottom of the juice but probably not enough to be an issue. I'll recheck my SG and adjust recipe as needed.

Maybe I'll rack the juice through a tight knitted hops bag to catch any remaining seeds at the bottom before I pitch the yeast. Hopefully the refrigeration and K-Meta in there is keeping wild yeast at bay as well as preventing oxygenation of the juice until I can start this.
I doubt the minimal sediment @ the bottom would be enough to throw those kinds of off flavors, but there's nothing wrong with throwing a little caution to the wind & racking how you described it before pitch.
Back to the Fermaid K, I'm not sure of exactly how much DAP is in there, but you can see the little white specks/ balls in the bag. It's been a long time since I bought DAP or Fermaid K. It may even have something on the bag as to quantities. A brief look @ Scott Labs didn't produce any percentages, but a deeper poke on their site may tell you better.
 
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That advanced YAN calculator lets you tailor to any YAN amount you want. According to its page, it will prefer Fermaid-O but try to limit it to an amount that won't impart odd flavors and then move to Fermaid-K and then DAP while respecting the commercial U.S. legal limits on DAP.

As I will be targeting a higher gravity I actually want some of that DAP as its like giving the yeast a turbo boost. I, generally, also don't use DAP or Fermaid-K. I didn't realize there was a Fermaid-A.
 
So I did end up dumping all the old solids that had strawberries and racked the juice through a tight mesh bag to pick up as much of the seeds that I could. After that I ended up pressing about another gallon of juice from raspberries and blackberries and kept those solids for the tannic structure I'm hoping to get out of the fruit. Additional pectic enzyme was added for that juice.

While not positive I believe I ended up activating some of the pectin in the juice. I had some stubborn honey at the bottom of the bucket that just didn't want to break apart. I racked the juice out and added a small bit of very hot water to swirl and break those honey clumps up. That went into the juice.

When checking the gravity it was reading too low for the amount of honey I added and the must seemed a bit more viscous that it should have... I also had a lot of air whipped into which might have been floating the hydrometer a bit. I left it there to settle for about an hour and then checked gravity. Still too low and when I spun the hydrometer in the flask it came to a stop faster than normal... so I think the pectin had thickened it up a bit.

I ran down to the brew shop and got a refractometer... yep the hydrometer was not reading correctly with added viscosity. Of course, the refractometer doesn't go as high as I would like. I took that reading and added the approximated honey to get me where I wanted to be and then pitched yeast later on that evening after 2 minutes of O2 through a .5 micron stone. Another O2 addition 12 hours later and the fermentation seems to be off to a good start. First nutrient feeding done as I won't be around to take care of it later today.

As it is now my standard practice, I have all the nutrients measured out at the start and ready to go so I don't have to do at every feeding. Highly recommended.
 

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All done with nutrients on this sucker. It doesn't get its last feeding. I guessed about 125 ppm YAN from the fruit and juice and targeted 175 ppm of nutrients though it's not getting all of that without the last feeding.

In 2.5 days, this has rocketed to ~13%. I knew it was going fast by the activity and temperature on the first day which is why it was put into the refrigerator to bring it down to the lower end for 71B. It's such a berry bomb that hopefully I'm not loosing too many subtle flavors with the speed its going. Temperature control would have been good on this one.
 
When this was right about 16% ABV, I put it into the refrigerator to cold crash it and hopefully pause fermentation until I can rack it over chemicals to stabilize it.

The pH of this started out at 3.3. I added 1 tsp of potassium bi-carbonate for some pH buffering even though that amount didn't move the pH meter off of 3.3. When fermentation was at 16% ABV it was sitting at about a pH of 4.0. The Lalvin 71B did its Malo-ethanolic fermentation and worked on the malic acid which increased the pH and likely has softened some of the acid profile.

It is currently sitting at a gravity of 1.020. I took a taste and the acidity is very high... I likely need to add honey to bring the SG to 1.040 or 1.050 so that the flavor is balanced. The taste is nice but way out of balance. After stabilized, I'll bring the gravity up about 10 points at a time until it is close to where I want it and then adjust in small amounts.

Lots of sediment and fruit remains are settling out right now while it is cold crashing. If I rack and avoid all of that, I will probably lose close to a gallon. That's a bit too much. I will likely give it another week of cold crashing and then I will rack it through a 50 micron gravity filter to try and get as much liquid out of that soup at the bottom. That will likely get racked again through a 20 or 10 micron filter.
 
I have not used that.
I only used pectic enzyme. I might try that if I do another one, though this one was quite a bit of work.
 
When this was racked, I ended up with about 4 gallons. It was about SG 1.020.

I have a bit more than .75 gallon in one container. I lightly back sweetened it (about 1.028) and added a bit of a habanero berry sauce to it. It seems pretty good and i well do a better tasting soon and determine if I well add more honey.
 
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